Jerry Quarry

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Jerry Quarry
Real nameJerry Quarry
Nickname(s)Irish, The Bellflower Bomber
Rated atHeavyweight
Born(1945-05-15)May 15, 1945
Bakersfield, California
DiedJanuary 3, 1999(1999-01-03) (aged 53)
Boxing record
Total fights66
Wins by KO32
No contests0
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Jerry Quarry
Real nameJerry Quarry
Nickname(s)Irish, The Bellflower Bomber
Rated atHeavyweight
Born(1945-05-15)May 15, 1945
Bakersfield, California
DiedJanuary 3, 1999(1999-01-03) (aged 53)
Boxing record
Total fights66
Wins by KO32
No contests0

Jerry Quarry (May 15, 1945 - January 3, 1999), nicknamed "Irish" or “The Bellflower Bomber,” was an American heavyweight boxer. Quarry was rated by Ring Magazine as the most popular fighter in the sport, 1968–1971, and was one of the biggest stars of arguably the greatest era in the history of the heavyweight division.[citation needed]



Quarry was a durable and smart counter-puncher/action fighter. At times he even moved around the ring in an Ali fashion. He had fast hands, an excellent left hook, and punched well with both hands. He also had a remarkable chin and was always courageous. His major flaw was a tendency to cut easily and having the bad luck to box in the era of Ali, Frazier, Foreman and Norton. He was six feet (1.83 metres) tall and weighed 195-pounds (88 kilograms) in his prime, which whilst comparable to many Heavyweight Boxers then, still put him on the slightly smaller side of the division. He would today would be considered cruiser-weight - a division he and others perhaps helped inspire.

He was the hero to a large and enthusiastic American family, which included three other pro' boxers (his father and two brothers). Quarry's father first put gloves on his son at five years. His career, he felt, was decided for him at a very young age.

Boxing career


Quarry came to notice by winning the 1965 National Golden Gloves championship in Kansas City at age 19. He knocked out each of his five opponents, a feat unmatched before or since.[citation needed] Quarry began his pro career in March 1965, winning a decision against Gene Hamilton in Los Angeles, California.


Quarry's first loss came against veteran and former contender Eddie Machen in 1966, which was his twenty-first fight within two full years as a pro'.

In mid-1967, the (World Boxing Association) (W.B.A.) held a tournament to replace Muhammad Ali, who had been stripped of his title for refusing induction into the military. Quarry had three convincing wins early in that year to improve his ranking, but also had an other draw, this time with former champion Floyd Patterson.

Title match v Ellis

In any case, Quarry was named to the eight-man tournament field. He defeated Patterson in their rematch with multiple knockdowns, then defeated ranked tournament favorite Thad Spencer[1], which brought him to national attention. In the tournament final, Jimmy Ellis decisioned Quarry on a split verdict to become new WBA Heavyweight Champion Of The World. Quarry was later stung by criticism that the match was very dull and it was allegedly this that in part made him decide to trade with Frazier in his next title chance. Quarry had wobbled Ellis with a heavy left hook in the 11th, but that was its most exciting short point.

Title match v Joe Frazier

Quarry, 22 years old and still popular, mounted a comeback and accrued four straight wins. In 1969, Quarry beat contender Buster Mathis.

He was then given a title shot by Joe Frazier for Frazier's New York State title. Quarry lost the fight on cuts via seventh-round technical knockout despite a tremendous effort in which he led in the early rounds. The high-action match was called Ring Magazine's Fight of The Year. Quarry's toughness impressed many, taking Frazier's best punches without a knockdown.

Other matches, Chuvalo

Quarry did return to win two more fights that year, before a loss to Canadian George Chuvalo. After getting up quickly from a knockdown at the count of four, Quarry went back to one knee and didn't stand again until the count of 10, and was therefore counted out, officially a knockout under the rules of boxing. At the time, Quarry was well ahead on the three judges' scorecards. Former Harlem Globetrotter Zack Clayton was the referee.

Early 1970s Foster & Ali (1)

Quarry had two wins in early 1970 before as underdog being matched with the big hitting and undefeated #1 ranked contender Mac Foster(24-0-0, 24 knockouts). Quarry, weighing 196, impressed boxing fans with a sound KO win. It returned him to contention. Frustrated by receiving a pounding jab he picked his moment after a couple of trial runs for a demolishing counter attack. It remains one of the peak wins of his career.

Another win later, he would fight Muhammad Ali, making his return to boxing in October 1970 after a 3 year exile, in Atlanta. Quarry, it was rumoured,[who?] was the only ranked heavyweight willing to meet the former champion.[citation needed] The first two rounds were competitive, before Ali opened a deep cut over Quarry's left eye. His corner stopped the fight at the end of the 3rd.

Quarry then attained four straight additional wins, and also pursued acting and various business ventures. In November 1971 he went to London, England and fought the British Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion, Jack Bodell. Jerry crushed the British Champion in 61 seconds of the first round to the cheers of Irishmen in the crowd. He was 26 years old and a millionaire despite never being world heavyweight champion.

The second Ali match

In 1972 Quarry added two more wins before getting his rematch with Ali. He was ranked #2 at fight time. The match was part of a racially motivated 'Soul Brothers versus the Quarry Brothers' event promoted by Don King, which included his brother Mike Quarry fighting Bob Foster for the world light-heavyweight title. Jerry went into the fight after watching his brother Mike get KO'd and being on his back for five minutes. In the opening round Quarry tried to intimidate Ali by lifting him off the canvas in an early clinch. The match was disappointing and Jerry was far too cautious. The fight was stopped in the seventh. An easy win for Ali.

Quarry, now managed by Gil Clancy, again bounced back to have perhaps his best year in 1973. Quarry soundly defeated ranked contenders Ron Lyle (19-0-0,17 knockouts) and Earnie Shavers (45-2-0, 44 knockouts) that year at Madison Square Garden. The first was a dominant decision over twelve rounds, the later a stunning 1st Round TKO. Champion George Foreman, a Quarry fan, later claimed that he dodged Quarry through his entire career, although nowadays Foreman is known to claim he avoided or tried to avoid other fighters, including Joe Frazier and Ken Norton.[2]

Frazier rematch

Disappointed that a title shot against Foreman in 1974 would not materialize, Quarry tried hard to get contending fights against Don King fighters, but could not get contracts signed.[citation needed] He had one more win before meeting Joe Frazier, one of the few willing to meet him,[citation needed] for the rematch which many expected years earlier.

For this one Jerry tried to out-box Frazier, and scored well early in the opening rounds. Quarry, weighing 204, then began to fade under Frazier's heavy pressure. At the end of the 4th round, it appeared Frazier knocked down Quarry with a left hook to the body just after the bell. Quarry was visibly injured by the body punch, but tried to continue. The fight was then stopped quickly in the 5th round when it was obvious he couldn't continue. Former heavyweight champion Joe Louis was the referee for the bout, and looked very unsure on how to handle the proceedings.[citation needed] Joe Louis never refereed another fight.

1975 Ken Norton

In 1975, launching yet another comeback, Quarry had one win while being dodged by many potential opponents,[citation needed] but then Ken Norton signed up in April of that year. Two other opponents had backed out and Quarry was the second alternate. Quarry gave another determined effort. He hurt Norton in the 'furious' all out 3rd, while bleeding from a cut. But Norton hung on, and launched a both powerful and lasting decisive counter attack to later win by the Referree halting the contest as ringsiders had started calling for a halt to prevent further punishment.


This concluded his prime years. He basically retired. Having had many wars before the age of 30. Quarry was 50-8-4 at this time, with 32 KOs. He had two losses each to Frazier and Ali plus one apiece to Norton, Chuvalo, Ellis and Machen. He had been ranked as high as #1 contender and won most of his matches while weighing under 200 pounds.

Quarry, who had acted in various programs on ABC to this point, including ' Batman ', ' Adam-12 ', ' I Dream Of Jeannie ' and ' The Six Million Dollar Man ', also did boxing commentary for ABC's "Wide World Of Sports." Still healthy and financially secure, he did commentary and acting from late 1975 to late 1977 before offers to return to the ring could no longer be ignored.

Comeback win 1977

In November 1977,on a comeback start Jerry fought seven losing rounds against the fast but light hitting Italian European Champion Lorenzo Zanon before a star-studded Las Vegas crowd, until his left hook turned the tables and knocked Zanon out in the ninth round. Following the fight, Quarry stated he was rusty and merely needed to fight his way back into shape. However he decided to retire again, this time for five years.

The 1970s included numerous small-part television acting appearances for Quarry, and television commercials. Quarry also surprised many during ' The Superstars ' television contests on ABC. An excellent athlete, Quarry made the event Finals in 1974, competing against NFL stars. His performance that year is still the highest score of any boxer in the history of the long-running contests.[citation needed]


Quarry could not remain retired, since he had been married three times and fell victim to several failed business ventures. With few other opportunities, he decided once again to climb into the ring in 1983.

Now 37, and training for his latest comeback, he was visited by a Sports Illustrated reporter who was researching an article about health problems among retired boxers. Especially those who started as child boxers. Although Quarry appeared to be in good health, his performance on several simple cognitive tests was shockingly poor.[1] This was the harbinger for the mental decline that destroyed the last part of his life - dementia pugilistica, the atrophy of the brain from repeated blows to the head, eventually leading to an Alzheimer's-like state.

The 1990s final comeback

Quarry had two wins in 1983, but the fights appeared to accelerate his mental decline. He was inactive as a boxer from 1984 to 1992, but continued to decline physically and mentally. His $5-million dollar fortune evaporated and by 1990 Quarry was on social security. Denied a boxing license in most states because of his condition, Quarry found a loophole in Colorado that allowed him to schedule an October 30, 1992 bout with Ron Cramner, a cruiserweight 16 years Quarry's junior. At the age of 47 years and 6 months old Jerry proved nothing more than a 6 round punching bag for the younger fighter, losing all six rounds and the decision. Only Quarry's courage and great chin let him last the full 6 rounds. Quarry was never the same after that fight.

Physical and mental decline

Within a few years, Quarry was unable to feed or dress himself and had to be cared for by relatives, mainly his brother James - the only one of the four Quarry brothers not to box professionally. Jerry's brother, Mike, who had contended for the light-heavyweight championship, was himself disabled by pugilistic dementia in later life and died as a result on June 11, 2006. Another brother, Bobby, suffers from Parkinson's disease, believed to be the result of his own, less-heralded heavyweight boxing career.

Hall of fame and death

Jerry Quarry was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995. He attended the ceremony with the help of one of his brothers but as a TV documentary showed he seemed barely aware of the events, the dementia already being severe. His professional record was 53-9-4 with 32 KOs. He had been lauded by countless younger boxing stars as a true star of the sport and an inspiration. Said Joe Frazier " A very tough man. He could have been a world champion, but cut too easily ". His brothers Mike Quarry (deceased) and Bobby Quarry also were pro boxers. Mike lost to Bob Foster by knockout for the world light heavyweight title in 1972, but defeated several top light-heavyweights including Mike Rossman. Bobby fought 23 times as a professional heavyweight, once losing to high-ranked 1990's contender Tommy Morrison. Quarry was hospitalized with pneumonia on December 28, 1998 and then suffered cardiac arrest. He never regained consciousness and died on January 3, 1999. He is interred at Shafter Cemetery in Shafter, California. A foundation was established in his honor to battle boxing-related dementia, a condition that has afflicted many boxers and brought Quarry's life to an early end. Years later, Quarry still has a loyal legion of fans.

Professional boxing record

53 Wins (32 knockouts, 11 decisions), 9 Losses (6 knockouts, 3 decision), 4 Draws [3]
Loss53-9-4United States Ron CranmerUD630/10/1992Colorado Aurora, Colorado, United StatesAt 47, Quarry's legs were there, but after 9 years of inactivity, his skills were only memories as his reflexes were shot. Jerry took a jab beating from Cranmer, in this, his final comeback, fought at the cruiserweight limit. Inspired by Foreman's comeback.
Win53-8-4United States James WilliamsMD1022/11/1983California Kern County Fairgrounds, Bakersfield, California, United States
Win52-8-4Mexico Lupe GuerraTKO1 (10)31/08/1983New Mexico Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United StatesQuarry raced across the ring and decked Guerra with the 1st punch he threw-his trademark left hook. Guerra got up, whereupon Quarry threw and landed a 3 punch combination and down went Guerra again. Guerra's corner then threw in the towel and the referee stopped the contest without bothering to count.
Win51-8-4Italy Lorenzo ZanonTKO9 (10)05/11/1977Nevada Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesZanon won every round on the officials scorecards until the 8th.
Loss50-8-4United States Ken NortonTKO5 (12)24/03/1975New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesFor vacant NABF Heavyweight title. Title had been vacated by Muhammad Ali to challenge George Foreman for the WBC and WBA Heavyweight titles.
Win50-7-4United States George JohnsonUD1025/02/1975Hawaii International Center Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Loss49-7-4United States Joe FrazierTKO5 (10)17/06/1974New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United States
Win49-6-4United States Joe AlexanderKO2 (10)08/05/1974New York Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York, United StatesQuarry knocked down in the 1st. Alexander down twice in the 2nd.
Win48-6-4United States Earnie ShaversTKO1 (10)14/12/1973New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesA minute and a half into the round Jerry caught him with a tremendous left and dropped him with a following right. Shavers barely beat the count and Quarry immediately swarmed all over him. Referee Arthur Mercante called a halt at 2:21 of the 1st round.
Win47-6-4United States Tony DoyleTKO4 (10)10/09/1973California Forum, Inglewood, California, United States
Win46-6-4United States James J WoodyTKO2 (10)31/08/1973Nevada Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesWoody down three times in the 2nd round, and the 3 knockdown rule was in effect to stop the fight.
Win45-6-4United States Ron LyleUD1209/02/1973New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesA short right hand in the 5th round caught Lyle on the chin and made his knees wobble. But there were only 30 seconds left and Lyle was able to survive the assault. In the 8th Quarry landed a looping left hook that caught Lyle by surprise and sent him staggering up against the ropes, but again Lyle made it through the round.
Win44-6-4United States Randy NeumannTKO7 (10)09/02/1973New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesQuarry softened up Neumann with hard body blows early in the fight then finished his opponent with a two-fisted attack to the head that forced ring physician, Dr. Edwin Campbell, to stop the bout before the bell sounded for the 8th round.
Loss43-6-4United States Muhammad AliTKO7 (12)27/06/1972Nevada Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesFor NABF Heavyweight title.
Win43-5-4United States Larry MiddletonPTS1009/05/1972England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United KingdomQuarry's fitness and strength carried him through in the end, but Middleton's long reach caused him a lot of trouble. In the early rounds Middleton held his opponent off with long left hands. By the middle of the fight Quarry got his booming counter-punching going and punished Middleton severely to the body.
Win42-5-4Argentina Eduardo CorlettiKO1 (10)17/04/1972California Forum, Inglewood, California, United StatesCorletti was knocked down twice.
Win41-5-4United States Lou BaileyUD1002/12/1971Iowa Des Moines, Iowa, United StatesQuarry knocked Bailey down 6 times in the featured event, but failed to get a knockout. Quarry sent Bailey down twice in the opening round, three times in the 2nd and once in the 3rd.
Win40-5-4United Kingdom Jack BodellKO1 (10)16/11/1971England Empire Pool, Wembley, London, England, United KingdomBodell attacked Quarry from the start, and showed a desire to brawl. Quarry, however, noticed Bodell swinging widely, and counterpunched Bodell hard enough for Bodell to go down and get back up. Quarry capitalized with a lightening fast counter right hook over the top that finished Bodell.
Win39-5-4United States Tony DoyleUD1024/07/1971Wisconsin Playboy Club Hotel, Wembley, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, United States
Win38-5-4United States Dick GoshaUD1018/06/1971Washington (state) Ocean Shores, Washington, United States
Loss37-5-4United States Muhammad AliTKO3 (15)26/10/1970Georgia (U.S. state) City Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia, United StatesFight stopped due to Quarry cut.
Win37-4-4Jamaica Stamford HarrisTKO6 (10)08/09/1970Florida Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United States
Win36-4-4United States Mac FosterKO6 (10)17/06/1970New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesQuarry broke Foster down with many left hooks to the body in round 5. He sent him sprawling in 6, and after a right cross to the head sent Foster through the ropes, the referee stopped it without a count.
Win35-4-4United States George JohnsonUD1019/03/1970California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win34-4-4United States Rufus BrassellKO2 (10)03/03/1970Florida Auditorium, Miami Beach, Florida, United StatesQuarry was knocked down by a punch after the bell to end the 1st round.
Loss33-4-4Canada George ChuvaloKO7 (10)12/12/1969New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesIn round 7 Quarry was knocked down by a left hook on the top of the head. He rose at the count of 3, but decided to take a knee, he got up at the count of 10 instead of 9 and referee Zach Clayton declared the fight over at 2:59.
Win33-3-4United Kingdom Brian LondonKO2 (10)03/09/1969California Oakland Arena, Oakland, California, United StatesLondon was knocked down twice in the 2nd round.
Win32-3-4United States Johnny CarrollKO1 (10)11/08/1969Minnesota Aldrich Arena, Saint Paul, Minnesota, United StatesCarroll down 3 times.
Loss31-3-4United States Joe FrazierTKO7 (15)23/06/1969New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesFor NYSAC World heavyweight title. In between rounds 7 and 8 the referee stops the fight because of the bad cut to Quarry's eye. 1969 Fight of the Year by The Ring Magazine.
Win31-2-4United States Buster MathisUD1224/03/1969New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesMathis was knocked down in the 2nd round. Quarry showed complete contempt for Mathis' punching power. He walked right in and dug searing hooks and solid rights to Buster's belly and ribs.
Win30-2-4United States Aaron EastlingTKO5 (10)26/01/1969Ohio Memorial Auditorium, Canton, Ohio, United StatesEastling dropped twice in the 4th.
Win29-2-4United States Charlie RenoTKO5 (10)10/01/1969Washington (state) Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington, United StatesReno received one standing-eight count in the 5th round.
Win28-2-4United States Willis EarlsUD1019/11/1968Texas Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Win27-2-4United States Bob MumfordTKO5 (10)11/11/1968Arizona Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Loss26-2-4United States Jimmy EllisMD1527/04/1968California Coliseum Arena, Oakland, California, United StatesFor vacant WBA World Heavyweight title.
Win26-1-4United States Thad SpencerTKO12 (12)03/02/1968California Oakland Arena, Oakland, California, United StatesWBA Heavyweight elimination tournament. Spencer was knocked down in the 4th and 10th rounds.
Win25-1-4United States Floyd PattersonMD1228/10/1967California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesElimination tournament for WBA Heavyweight title. Quarry dropped Patterson with short rights to the head in the 2nd and 4th rounds. But he had to battle to hold his own in the late rounds as Patterson appeared to get stronger and take charge of the fiercely contested bout.
Win24-1-4United States Billy DanielsKO1 (10)15/09/1967California Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, United States
Draw23-1-4United States Floyd PattersonMD1009/06/1967California Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, United StatesPatterson down twice in the 2nd, Quarry down in the 7th.
Win23-1-3Argentina Alex MiteffKO3 (10)27/04/1967California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win22-1-3United Kingdom Brian LondonUD1009/03/1967California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win21-1-3United States Memphis Al JonesKO5 (10)11/01/1967California Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California, United StatesQuarry was knocked down twice in the 3rd round.
Win20-1-3United States Joey OrbilloUD1015/12/1966California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesOrbillo was knocked down in the 4th round for a nine-count.
Win19-1-3Canada Leslie BordenKO5 (10)29/11/1966California Valley Music Theatre, Woodland Hills, California, United States
Win18-1-3United States Bill NielsenUD1020/10/1966California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Loss17-1-3United States Eddie MachenUD1014/07/1966California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesMachen seemed to hold Quarry, and his vaunted left hook in disdain and occasionally smirked, smiled and even laughed at his rather awkward young opponent. Machen paraded around the ring even before the verdict was announced.
Draw17-0-3United States Tony AlongiPTS1027/05/1966California Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win17-0-2United States Memphis Al JonesUD1027/05/1966Missouri Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Win16-0-2United States George JohnsonTKO2 (10)07/04/1966California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesJohnson was knocked down in the 2nd round.
Draw15-0-2United States Tony AlongiPTS1004/03/1966New York Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, United StatesAlongi was knocked down in the 7th. The judge Artie Aidala scored the bout 5-5 in rounds, but favored Quarry in supplemental scoring.
Win15-0-1United States Prentice SnipesKO5 (10)17/02/1966California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesSnipes was knocked down twice in the 5th round.
Win14-0-1United States Eddie LandUD803/02/1966Nevada Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win13-0-1United States Roy CrearTKO3 (10)23/12/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Draw12-0-1United States Tony DoylePTS1011/11/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesDoyle was knocked down in the 4th round for a five count.
Win12–0United States Roy CrearTKO3 (10)02/11/1965Texas Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio, Texas, United StatesQuarry was knocked down in the 2nd round. Los Angeles Times.
Win11–0United States Al CarterTKO6 (8)28/10/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesCarter was knocked down in the 6th round.
Win10–0United States Milton ManleyKO1 (8)13/10/1965Kansas Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Win9–0United States Ray Junior EllisKO3 (6)23/09/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win8–0United States John Henry JacksonPTS809/08/1965Kansas Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Win7–0United States JP SpencerTKO4 (8)02/08/1965Nevada Hacienda Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win6–0United States Ray Junior EllisUD629/07/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win5–0United States Willie DavisKO3 (6)16/07/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win4–0United States Dave CentiUD624/06/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United StatesCenti was knocked down in the 2nd round.
Win3–0United States Lance HolmbergPTS617/06/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win2–0United States John Henry JacksonKO4 (6)03/06/1965California Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, United States
Win1–0United States Gene HamiltonPTS407/05/1965California Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California, United StatesPro debut for Quarry.


  1. ^ Boyle, Robert H., "Too Many Punches, Too Little Concern", Sports Illustrated, April 11, 1983. Article dated 1983-04-11, retrieved 2009-02-13.

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